Glenna Crooks

The past few weeks have been full of surprises – and “not” surprises – and here are a few.

Listening to some experts in economics, insurance and oncology, I heard how little they knew of the experience of people with cancer. They did not know what patients were told about their condition or options by clinicians, how the values of each entered into decisions about care and even how much it cost patients. For all the press about the cost of care – and recently the cost of medications – none could cite any studies they thought definitively addressed care or cost issues. Surprised. Given the incidence of cancers and the suffering it causes, knowing would be critically important.

In a dinner conversation, came mention that in Massachusetts the wait time for a physician visit is 93 days. Not surprised. Fasten your seatbelts, post-ACA America.

Danielle Ofri, MD, in last week’s New York Times column Well, described how some physicians give their patients money to buy food and cover co-pays. Surprised and not surprised. Even as physician pay is being cut back and their performance ever more scrutinized, some are giving in ways we’ll probably never know or appreciate.

Otherwise unexplained changes in gait may be diagnostic for dementia. Surprised. That would be a handy thing for everyone – especially the likely family caregivers – to know.

Every day, 66 kids end up in the ER because of shopping cart injuries. Surprised.  Well, not surprised. Little kids can move at lightening speeds.

Economist Sendhil Mullainathan suggested that getting enough sleep could help the US economy. Not surprised about the suggestion, surprised that it came from an economist.

Exercise is good for health, regardless of age. Even the very elderly benefit. Not surprised at the studies, surprised that reports still make the news.



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